On April 18, 2018, Stan ended his journey on earth that began June 11, 1943, when he was born in Yoder, the third son of Dorothy and Illa Patten.
His older brothers, Robert and Larry, were already a part of the family, and his sister, Dianna, would arrive a few years later. Growing up in small town Indiana, surrounded by extended family members, shaped Stan’s early life and gave him values he carried throughout his life. Leaving Yoder, Stan went to Butler University where he was awarded a B.A. degree in English, and then went off to Waldia, Ethiopia, to spend two years in the Peace Corps. Stan taught at Bishop Dwenger High School, where he engaged his students in a tutoring program at St. Mary’s School, part of an inner city parish that served the underserved in Fort Wayne. After the assassination of Dr. King, Stan became the director of volunteers and the day to day director of the Martin Luther King Center. Later Stan would earn an M.A. from IPFW in English and a Ph.D. in English and philosophy from Purdue University.
Stan then moved to Charlotte, N.C., to teach at UNCC. During his tenure, Stan taught English and women’s studies, while also developing a first class writing center that provided free tutoring and computer services to students, staff, and faculty. In 1999, myasthenia gravis forced Stan to end his teaching career, but it did not quench his thirst for ever more knowledge and understanding.
In 1990, Stan bought a home on a street near uptown Charlotte, called Mimosa. The years on Mimosa were the happiest of his life. He found a tribe of people that he loved and enjoyed as much as his own large ever-expanding family. In a poem he wrote about his street, he sang the praises of “the pulse, the thumping heart / that makes a street, a dead-end street a home,” noting that “People who might never meet on another / street find common cause, find reasons / to stay, to be involved, reminding all / of earlier times when towns were small / and people large, when hearts were intertwined / by proximity.”
Stan’s father, his brother Larry, and his nephew Tracy all ended their journey before him. Left to continue their journeys are his amazing mother Dorothy; Bob and Deanna, Joyce, Dianna and Steve and their wonderful families who gave Stan such joy; relatives and friends too numerous to mention, his neighbors on Mimosa Avenue, and Waldia.
If you wish to celebrate Stan’s life, services will be held at noon April 29 at the Elzey Patterson Rodak Funeral Home, 120 W. Mill St., Ossian. He would ask that you make the effort to love and understand people not like you, take the time to let people know you love them, read a book to a small child, help people who with a little support can make it on their own, laugh at life and at yourself, and most of all be kind to others and to yourself. It also pleased him greatly if you voted for Hillary. Stan wants you to know that he enjoyed his life journey and wishes the same for you. Stan recognized that love is a pearl produced through living life. As he wrote: “I think it’s love, just a pearl, that proves to us / we need the sand, we need the rub, to fuel our soul.” He thanks you for being a beautiful pearl in the necklace of his life. Peace.